Time-Based Art Festival

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Jean-Michele Gregory and Mike Daisey

Monologist Mike Daisey isn’t afraid to go all in. Not only did he once travel to China merely to track down the factory that made his iPod, he recently declared that his next performance will last an entire 24 hours. With this epic level of commitment, it wasn’t much of a stretch for the obsessively hardworking Daisey to marry his work—in the person of his director, Jean-Michele Gregory.

This setup, of course, presents pros and cons: “When things are going great, it just feels extraordinary,” says Jean-Michele. “But when things aren’t going well, it’s not like you can go home to your husband and complain about the a-hole you work with.”

But the inseparable couple make it work, and they spend about eight or nine months a year on the road together—Mike refining his unscripted monologues through repeated live performance, Jean-Michele providing necessary perspective and criticism. “When I’m not with Jean-Michele, I’m not as smart,” he says. “There are times when I’m like, ‘I don’t know how I feel about this or that; I’ll know later when I see Jean-Michele.’”

Mike met Jean-Michele 15 years ago while doing “very bad German expressionist theater.” They became instant friends, but their courtship progressed at a slow simmer. “I was so clueless at first,” Mike admits. “But I eventually realized that when a girl punches you and bites you—that might mean she wants you.”

Bruises and bite marks aside, as Mike gears up for the challenge of a lifetime, he’s counting on Jean-Michele’s counsel more than ever. In All the Hours in the Day, Mike will create and intertwine narratives from around the world in an attempt to “tell a gigantic road story, of sorts, of our entire planet and every time zone.” Audacious? Absolutely.—AA